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    Daniel Bevis

    700whp twin-turbo Ferrari 458 Spider

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 28 May 2019

    The Ferrari 458’s F136 engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated V8s. So what happens when you bolt on a couple of turbos? Well, the results are pretty crazy… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photography: Larry Chen.

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    FERRARI 488 CHALLENGE

    The new Ferrari 488 Challenge can lap Fiorano in 1:15.5 – just half a second behind the 599XX Evoluzione. The turbocharged V8 engine gets new mapping and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has shorter ratios, while the remarkable Side Slip Control and E-diff from the road car are recalibrated for racing purposes. Significant aero tweaks reduce drag and increase downforce.

    / #2017-Ferrari-488-Challenge / #Ferrari-488-Challenge / #Ferrari-488 / #Ferrari / #2017
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    Not exactly the soft option / ignition // NEW CAR NEWS // Ferrari’s 488 now comes in Spider form, so you can enjoy more of the scenery, more of the noise – yet it’s no less incisive to drive. Words David Lillywhite. #2016 / #Ferrari-488-Spider / #Ferrari-488 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-488GTB

    Forget that it’s the most accomplished V8 Ferrari has ever built. Forget also that it’s the most technically advanced. For the new 488 Spider, it’s all about how it looks and how it sounds. That’s not a sly dig. It’s merely two factors that were important to the 488 GTB coupé but even more important in the Spider. Even Ferrari makes a nod to this in the choice of test drive location: Rimini on the east coast of Italy, rather than the Fiorano test track and surrounding mountains that hosted the GTB’s launch last summer.

    So first, the looks. We thought the #Ferrari-488-GTB to be the best-looking of any Ferrari of recent years, wonderfully free of those self-conscious bodywork protuberances that afflict so many modern supercars. Instead, clever active aero work under and above the car forces airflow through stylish ducts and the neat ‘blown spoiler’ to increase downforce and reduce drag compared with the previous 458, yet with little impact on the styling. If anything, the aerodynamic considerations improve its appearance.

    How, then, does the Spider compare? With a convertible there’s not the same chance to beneficially harness the flow of air over the roof and the rear window, and then there’s the aerodynamic nightmare of two completely different profiles, according to whether the roof is up or down – and that’s even before you consider protecting the occupants from the blast of turbulent air at three-figure speeds. Put simply, there is no more difficult job for the aerodynamics engineer than to design a convertible mid-engined supercar. Well, to us, the GTB is the better-looking. But my goodness, the Spider is by no means the ugly sister.

    From the nose to the trailing edge of the door, the Spider is the same as the GTB, save for a join in the roof panel that enables the top to fold and stow away. But where the GTB has tiny side windows and a long rear window flowing beautifully right down to the rear end of the car – with the added advantage of showing off the engine – the Spider has tapered buttresses, an upright rear window and a solid, sculpted engine lid. It’s a very different treatment, which nonetheless culminates in an identical rear end.

    It’s fussier than the GTB, without doubt, and when the lightweight roof panels have folded and stowed themselves away above the engine – an enchantingly smooth process that takes 14 seconds – the sturdy buttresses defiantly remain, managing not just airflow but also roll-over protection and cabin comfort. The glass rear window stays too, but it can be electrically adjusted up or down to any of three positions (fully down, quarter-up and half-up – but not all the way up because that causes buffeting). This is the same Retractable Hard Top system that made its debut on the 458 Spider but, as with the rest of the 488, it’s lighter and faster in operation in its new guise.

    And so to the sound, but to get to the sound we must first mention the biggest fundamental change of all, brought in with the GTB: the 488 engine is a twin-turbo V8, smaller in capacity and physical size (lighter, too) than its predecessor, and introduced in the California T of 2014. This is the way the world is going, with a new generation of forced aspiration increasing efficiency and allowing lower capacities – but we know that the downside can be a lag in delivery and, because the turbos impede exhaust flow, a more muted sound. Ah…

    Is that the case here? Well not in power delivery terms because, like the GTB, the Spider is ballistically fast, and the lightest-ever Ferrari engine internals and spiralling boost characteristics of turbocharged engines make for the fastest-rising revs we’ve ever known on a road car. Honestly, it’s on the limiter in split-seconds; acceleration is nothing short of remarkable, and made all the more of an assault on the senses when the roof is off.

    And it sounds fantastic, of that there’s no doubt. It idles fairly quietly and, under gentle acceleration, keeping revs down and using the prodigious torque (it hits maximum by 3000rpm), it remains reasonably discreet in Wet or Sport mode. But the merest brush of the accelerator from that point will cause the bypass valve to open, accompanied by a deep bellow that disappears as quickly as it came if you don’t keep your foot in. It’s far more noticeable in the Spider with the roof down – of course! – and welcome most of the time, but very occasionally it can be a little too sudden (Ferrari is working on a more progressively acting bypass valve).


    A bit more aggression on the accelerator results in the bellow segueing into a much crisper, more Ferrari-esque sound, particularly in Race mode. It’s not quite up with the more blood-curdling screams of earlier Ferrari V8s, particularly the higher-revving 458 Speciale, but then this is not a replacement for that car. A Speciale will almost certainly follow. The other consideration with a convertible is, of course, structural rigidity. Ferrari says the 488 Spider is as rigid as the GTB, and plotted the initial sections of the first test drives on some of the twistiest, bumpiest roads you’ll find in Italy, in the mountains above Rimini.

    To compensate for the strength lost by removing the roof, the semi-spaceframe alloy chassis (more a tub with tubes front and aft to support the running gear) has been strengthened with a vertical aluminium alloy plate ahead of the front bulkhead and a horizontal alloy plate, roughly the size of the engine cover, below the gearbox.

    There is no hint of scuttle shake, that old bugbear of any convertible, and although the weight has increased, not just from the plates but from the roof-folding mechanism, it’s by an acceptable 50kg, so there’s no perceptible drop in performance or handling. What’s more, the roof, when folded down, takes up just 100 litres of space, in the area above the engine that the GTB uses mostly to show off the sexy mechanical parts.

    Still, I’ve always maintained I’m a coupé man, not keen on show-off convertibles. So I activated the roof, and was briefly overcome with claustrophobia as my connection with the blue Italian skies was lost. And now I see why, of the Ferraris sold as coupés and convertibles, more than 50% of sales are of the open-top variety in almost every country except China. And, of course, the highest percentage is in the UK. Funny old world.

    Above Twisting roads no less a playground despite the Spider’s lack of a roof. #Ferrari claims there’s no detriment to rigidity. Above Editor Lillywhite gets to grips with the gorgeous new 488 Spider in the mountains above Rimini.
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    DYNAMIC ART

    The new high-performance #Ferrari-488 GTB debuts at the Museo Enzo Ferrari. The new 488 GTB enhances the classic qualities of a normally aspirated Ferrari engine by using the very latest turbocharging technology. Its innovative design contributes to its remarkable handling. We took it to the Museo #Enzo-Ferrari for its debut. Words Antonio Ghini. Photography Alex Howe.

    The F1-90 was famously nicknamed the Papera – “the duck” – although the passing of time and its presence as part of the New York MoMA’s design collection has more than redeemed it. It was also the car with which Alain Prost led the Scuderia to its 100th grand prix victory, and the one he was driving when Ayrton Senna rammed into him at the first corner of the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, robbing him of a seemingly guaranteed World Title. A highly memorable car.

    The #F1-90 , and its stunning 680hp V12, provided powerful philosophical and technical inspiration for 1995’s F50 supercar, its mid-mounted and enlarged 4.7-litre engine producing 520hp. The reason for mentioning this here is because it helps underline the symbiotic relationship between Formula One and supercars, a symbiosis Ferrari has explored more rigorously than anyone. Now, just as in the past, designers and engineers at Maranello are using advanced technology in order to optimise performance from cars that were primarily conceived for the road.

    The result is a contemporary road-going Gran Turismo Berlinetta that feels more than comfortable on the circuit, and puts 670hp at the driver’s disposal. It isn’t just about power, however, it’s also about torque. With 760Nm (561lb ft) from just 2,000rpm, this particular Berlinetta is capable of previously undreamt-of acceleration: zero to 100km/h takes three seconds while 200km/h is achieved in little more than eight. Let’s cut to the chase: this is full-blooded track performance in a car designed for the road. Prost would surely agree. The latest product of this mutually beneficial relationship carries a wonderfully evocative name: the 488 GTB. Forty years have passed since the unveiling of the first Ferrari eight-cylinder with a mid-mounted engine, the 308 GTB. Since then, eight-cylinder models have gained increasing importance in Maranello.

    This has been further consolidated with the repeated successes of V8-engined Prancing Horse models in international competition, most recently the multiple World Championship wins of the 458 GT. This car also triumphed in the GTE Pro Class at Le Mans in 2012 and 2014.

    Ferrari, of course, prefers to go beyond. Despite the proven success of its 458 Italia predecessor, the 488 GTB has a highly significant technical innovation: a twin-turbocharged engine. As you’d expect from Maranello, this solution has been interpreted in a wholly original way by Ferrari’s engineers: embracing the turbocharger’s advantages (increased horsepower, as well as delivering lower emissions and enhanced fuel consumption), and at the same time continuing to pursue technological excellence and to guarantee maximum engine performance.

    Performance is not an issue with the 488 GTB’s 3.9-litre engine (you arrive at the name, by the way, if you divide its cubic capacity by the number of cylinders). At 8,000rpm, 670hp (492KW) of power rips through the engine. In seventh gear, maximum torque of 760Nm is obtained with a response time of 0.8 seconds at 2,000rpm, guaranteeing spectacular acceleration and suggesting that turbo lag is non-existent. According to the long-standing Ferrari test driver Dario Benuzzi, the sensation during acceleration is very similar to that of driving the hybridised V12 LaFerrari.

    ‘A joy,’ is his brief, but telling, comment. You might think that Benuzzi’s job as test driver is the best in the world, but remember that developing such an important new Ferrari is a tricky balancing act. There’s also an awful lot of cutting-edge technology at play here. The 488 GTB’s shape isn’t just visually arresting, it also generates 50 per cent more downforce than the 458 Italia managed. There’s a double front splitter, active aerodynamic elements at the rear, and a “blown” rear spoiler, which is all F1 know-how.

    The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox uses Ferrari’s ingenious Variable Torque Management System to deliver a continuous and seamless flow of torque throughout the rev spectrum. Likewise, the electronic chassis controls offer a level of handling response that is unique in this kind of model. The 488’s lap time at Fiorano tells its own story: 1min 23secs is truly stellar, half a second faster than the track-oriented 458 Speciale and fully two seconds quicker than the 458 Italia.

    The combined effect of the electronic differential (E-diff) with both the F1-Trac traction control and the active damping shock absorbers gives the 488 GTB outstanding poise and accessibility. Ferrari’s Side Slip Angle Control 2 (SSC2) algorithm – first seen on the Speciale – gives the driver even more control and confidence than before. No less important is the improved effectiveness of the braking system. The 488’s stopping distance has been reduced by nine per cent at a speed of 200km/h compared to the previous model.

    Naturally, phenomenal work has been done on balancing the new car’s aerodynamic functionality and the requirement that a new Ferrari should be beautiful. The car’s side intakes are larger (to assist the turbo’s intercoolers), but the overall effect is harmonious and wonderfully integrated.

    As ever at Maranello, it’s all about teamwork. Ingegner Cardile’s aerodynamics team have worked closely with the engineers and the Design Department. The car’s strong personality comes across through the form of the sculpted side panel: a wide air inlet shaped with a distinctive “slash” signature. The characteristic concave shape, reminiscent of the original 308 GTB, is crossed by a fin that divides the entry channel in two.

    At the front end a wide aileron overlaps to improve the thermal efficiency of the radiators, which are suspended and detached from the volume. Two central spars are combined with a deflector that channels air towards the back. The wide, low rear is dominated by a series of aerodynamic features, with an innovative “forced draft” spoiler at the top, capable of generating downforce without increasing drag, and an aggressive diffuser, fitted with active cover panels and designed around two raised exhausts. The circular LED headlights are another new design feature. Behind the wheel, the driver has the sensation of being in a single-seater: everything is close at hand, with an ergonomic and functional cockpit.

    As is the case in F1 cars, the car’s steering wheel is multi-functional, with integral controls and the classic manettino dial, while the wraparound seats are spacious and agreeable (for the passenger as well, who even without a steering wheel, feels just as close to the action). It also demonstrates Ferrari’s continued commitment to creating high quality interiors – the 488’s is sensational. So it was that the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show provided the stage for the beginning of a completely new chapter for the Prancing Horse. The 488 GTB is the perfect representation of Enzo’s celebrated dictum: “My favourite Ferrari is always the next one.”

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS #2015 #Ferrari-488GTB
    Engine type – V8 90º Twin turbo
    Overall displacement – 3,902cc
    Maximum power (DIN) – 492kW (670CV) at 8,000rpm
    Maximum torque (DIN) – 760 Nm at 3,000rpm
    Length 4,568mm,
    Width 1,952mm,
    Height 1.213mm
    Weight distribution – 46.5% front, 53.5% rear
    0-100km/h – 3.0 secs
    0-200km/h – 8.3 secs
    Maximum speed – 330km/h
    Fuel consumption – 11.4 - litres/100km
    CO2 emissions – 260g/km

    “At the wheel, the driver has the sensation of being in a single-seater”

    The 488 GTB is a masterpiece of technical aesthetic achievement, where form and function are seamlessly matched. Its engine produces 670hp at 8,000rpm.

    Elegantly designed and beautifully finished, the 488 GTB’s interior has a cockpit feel. The steering wheel has all the main controls and the wraparound seats are separated by a control-switch bridge that completes the instrumentation. The graphics and interface of the infotainment system are also completely new.


    “The cabin’s ergonomics are F1-inspired, the quality simply sensational”

    “The 488 GTB’s #Fiorano lap time is simply stellar”

    The #Flavio-Manzoni / #Enrico-Cardile/ #Gianmaria-Fulgenzi / #Vittorio-Dini / #Matteo-Lanzavecchia
    new model - the research carried out on the 488 GTB’s aerodynamics created 50 per cent more downforce compared with the previous model. This is all thanks to the “blown” spoiler at the rear, which generates downforce without increasing drag, and of a diffuser that features active !laps. The two large exhausts have both been raised. Above, the men responsible for the car’s development, working in Design, Aerodynamics, Engine and Vehicle Dynamics. Left, the Project Leader, Gianmaria Fulgenzi.

    Among its main characteristics of the 488 GTB’s design are the pronounced air intakes on its beautifully sculpted flanks. Not only do they improve efficiency, they also underline the muscularity of the car’s performance, which scales new heights for an eight-cylinder #Ferrari .

    “The new Ferrari’s shape isn’t just beautiful, it’s also highly efficient”

    The front splitter, similar in execution to Ferrari’s World Championship winning GT racing model, improves thermal efficiency. A central deflector channels air towards the car’s flat underfloor. The 488 GTB’s aerodynamic efficiency of 1.67 is a new record for a road-going Ferrari. The overall design, combines elegance with aggressiveness.

    “There’s a very strong symbiosis between Ferrari’s road cars and #F1
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    Testing time #Ferrari-488GTB #2015

    Setting up a #Ferrari test trip can be quite a challenge. We meet the man who makes it all happen.

    We are used to seeing them in the Formula One pits, those perfectly organised technicians who ensure the development and efficiency of the cars. We all have problems identifying who actually does what. Indeed, so much so, that all of the frenzied activities they carry out tend to come under the generic term of “team work”. But what happens when the car to be tested is a road car that has to be able to deal with all types of situations, at any temperature or any altitude?

    Angelo Tazioli, known to all as Tazio (in honour of the celebrated driver Nuvolari, of course), oversees the logistics of these tests and expeditions, some of which can last for months. ‘The team moves to where it’s needed,’ he explains. ‘We might have to find the heat, like this time in South Africa, with tests at sea level and at high altitude, where oxygen is scarce, or to look for cold, in Tierra del Fuego or in northern Sweden, or even to drive with our foot to the floor for hours, like on the Nardò Ring.’

    The car (or cars) is transported by air, along with various spare parts, tyres and inspection equipment. The engineer in charge of the project travels to the location, accompanied by the various test drivers and those responsible for the powertrain, the mechanics, bodywork, electronics and telemetry. And, finally, there’s the man in charge of coordinating the logistics: Tazio. Each trip has a specific programme of tests that have to be carried out within the strict parameters required. Obviously the parameters change if tests are still being carried out on first prototypes designed for trailing a specific individual part (for example, a new engine placed into an existing car), on full prototypes or on pre-series production cars that have already been finalised. Data is sent back to #Maranello every day, processed in the “remote garage” recognisable from #F1 , and approval for the new model is ultimately granted according to the analyses.
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